View Full Version : picturing fireflies

11-19-2004, 03:26 PM

ever since I first saw a tree at night surrounded by a dense swarm of fireflies I wonder how - with which equipment - this phantastic picture could be captured. Anyone on this board ever tried? If not, any links to photo forums with a higher chance to get a decent answer to this question are also welcome. I did not find such a picture with googles image search.

leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but pictures

11-22-2004, 01:42 AM
Let me start off by saying that I have never even seen a firefly in my life, but I have some info that just might work. First let me tell you about a "similar" situation I was in not long ago. I was on the outdoor observation deck of the Stratosphere tower at Las Vegs at night; I had already taken a good, long exposure shot of the strip and now I just wanted to shoot away at the massive sea of random lights out there. The problem was, tripods are not allowed up there, so I got desperate and cranked the ISO on my A80 up to 400, set my set the aperture to f2.8, and the shutter speed to 1/30 and later 1/40. Now keep in mind that it was VERY windy, and also, in a attermpt to capture as many lights in my frame as possible, I held the camera as high above my head as I could and tilted the flip out LCD down so I could see what I was shooting. Remember, high winds at 1100 feet up + holding the camera above my head = lots of camera shake, but even so, 60% of my shots came out nice and sharp (it's easy to tell with lights, because it is either a perfect tiny circle, or not). Keep in mind that High ISO counteracts purple fringing. Now I know you are talking about FIREFLIES but the amount of camera shake I experienced up there should at least compare to the movement of a bunch of swarming fireflies. So bring your tripod and give it a try! You could even shoot at slower shutter speed and a low ISO - the streaking effect might turn out some pleasing results! I should also mention that the type of scene that I shot - lots of light specs everywhere - pretty much made noise invisible. It might be more obvious in your shots. Oh and in case you don't already know, you probably shouldn't use a flash unless you are going for some kind of effect. Hey if you're successful, would you mind posting some shots? Sure wish I had some of those fireflies in my area.